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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grandson Reviews Our 7 in 1 Rechargeable Solar Tranformer

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I'm taking the youngest grandson with me on my travels which leaves the two older ones at home. I really hate to leave them but they have school. To make it up to them I'm leaving each something really cool to play with while I'm gone. I'm leaving Mr. K with the OWI 7 in 1 Rechargeable Solar Transformers. He gets to use his reading skills and follow the directions to put it together. I love that this will really get him to use his thinking skills to put it together.

This is a solar science kit just begging to be put together and encourage creativity. I love projects that reward kids with a sense of pride and accomplishment and this product will do that.

Doing it himself should be a fun project as it has all snap together plastic parts (no screws, tools required) It has 7 different modules: 2 power charging stations and 5 different vehicles that are a Solar Car, Concept Car, Bulldozer, Dump Truck and Concept Racer. He will also get a chance to learn and apply solar energy. He loves science so this will be right up his alley.

The 7 in 1 Rechargeable Solar Transformer has been selected as a TDMonthly Magazine May Issue Staff Pick.

I stopped in to visit the grand children and asked Mr. K how he did with the 7 in 1 Rechargeable Solar Transformers kit I left for him. He proudly smiled and retrieved it from his room. He was really pleased that he did it all himself and was really fascinated by how it worked and the concept of solar energy. He gave it a test run for me and showed me how he could power up his car with the transforming station.

He also told me his plans of using it for a science project and how he is going to learn more about solar energy. I just love it when a toy inspires a child to want to learn more and helps them make responsible choices as well to alternative fuel choices. You can check out more products by OWI Robotics here to inspire your child to being creative and learn about responsible choices for our Earth's environment.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Basic Robotic Tools You Need to Start a Hobby

OWI loves robotics so much because we see it as a constructive hobby that can provide a lifetime of learning and fun. A great way to get into this engrossing pastime is to start with some basic robotic kits. We have a number of kits suitable for the beginning hobbyist who wants to build a robot 'from scratch' without having to make a list of parts. Here are a few robots we would recommend you to consider:

  • Hyper Peppy: This kit, as with all of our products, comes completely unassembled with easy-to-understand instructions. Once built, it uses a sensor and programming to detect when it bumps into an object, and then backs itself up and turns left to avoid the obstacle! All of the components of basic robotics are demonstrated in this kit.

  • 3-in-1 All Terrain Robot (ATR): What's great about our ATR kit is that it can be built and rebuilt in three unique configurations: the Rover, which is unstoppable on rough terrain; the Forklift, a miniature industrial forklift; or the Gripper, which uses robotic arms to lift its load. It's easy to disassemble one mode and rebuild into another. Giving any hobbyist plenty of chances to learn the ins and outs of basic robotics.

  • Robotic Arm Edge: The best way to learn about robotic arms is by building our Robotic Arm Edge. After assembly, the Edge can be controlled by the user with a five-switch wired controller, which regulates five motors to help fully articulate the movement of each distinct joint. This award winning kit is another great way to jump right into the hobby head-first.

Parts and Tools to Build a Basic Robot From Scratch

Maybe you want to take a more challenging path and purchase individual parts and tools to build a robot from scratch. Here is a list of the basic tools and parts necessary for starting your own robotics laboratory.

  • Power source (batteries): There are a few common types available. Regular alkaline batteries are not very cost-effective, so consider rechargeable NiCad, lithium, or NiMH batteries instead. WE also sell solar power kits and salt water fuel cell kits that offer alternative 'green' forms of energy consumption.
  • DC motors or servos: The batteries will power your motor, which in turn powers the movements of your robot. DC motors are more powerful, but servos are easier to control. Consider trying both!
  • Wheels: The most basic kind of movement for a robot is wheeled, so it's generally considered the best place to start. Your motor will turn the axles. 
  • Robot power regulation circuit: Pretty much what it sounds like: a circuit that keeps too much power from surging through your robot and frying its delicate bits. 
  • Microcontroller: The brain of your robot. It's a cool-looking circuit board with various plugs and LEDs that can be programmed to command the "body" of the robot. The easiest ones to use are the ones with a built-in programmer, so look for those. 
  • Sensors (photoresistors and sound  sensors): These let your robot sense the world around them. There are various types, most of them cheap. They plug into your micro-controller. 
  • Chassis parts: These could be anything from sheets of metal that you can work into shapes with a home shop, to scavenged pieces from the local thrift store or scrapheap.
  • Various hand tools and fasteners: Velcro, strong tape, glue, screws, bolts and nuts, wrenches, screwdrivers and a hammer...the more tools and parts you have the more designs you'll be able to build.

Robots From OWI Robot

Getting into basic robotics isn't rocket science. With a willingness to learn, and a kit with the right parts, anyone can enter the fascinating world of robot creation. Contact us at for robotic kits and parts today!